The Taviani Brothers' Caesar Must Die is an incredibly unique meta-narrative that ultimately makes a case for the importance of art in society. Casting real prisoners in the film, we are taken into a Roman prison where these men have just learned that they will be performing William Shakespeare's Julius Caeser. The film follows these men as they whisper and conspire throughout the walls of this prison, with the fine line between the play and the world which these prisoners live becoming awfully blurred. The prisoners become these characters to such a degree that only a few well placed scenes exist to remind us that they are rehearsing a play. That being said these written words take on a life of their own, piercing these men's souls with the lingering guilt of their transgressions. There is a great amount of subtlety in how Shakespeare's words affect the various men, often being something as small as a pensive stare or facial expression. Predominately shot in a stark black-and-white palette, the film perfectly captures this prison setting'. The film does have a few color sequences throughout, seemingly reminding the audience that these men are a part of our world with the actual performance being a very bright and vivid color palette, suggesting that this is the one connection these men have to the outside world. While Casar Must Die is an incredibly interesting piece of filmmaking, I found that the "play within a film" alienated the viewer at times, making it hard to be as emotionally invested in the characters as they should be. The film is a great experiment that even with its somewhat challenging narrative style and flow makes an incredibly poignant statement about the power of the arts.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.